Do I Need Renters Insurance For My College Apartment or House?

What’s more exciting than moving into your first college apartment? It’s a true act of adulthood that affords you more personal space and freedom than an on-campus dorm.

When looking for off-campus college housing, there are several questions to consider before signing a lease:

  • How much does the apartment/house cost per month to rent?
  • Are major utilities (heating and cooling, electric, and water) included in rent?
  • Who will manage the property?

There are also conversations to be had about renting and subletting—including discussions around renters insurance. A 2016 Insurance Information Institute poll conducted by ORC International suggests that only 41% of renters had renters insurance, while nearly 95% of homeowners had homeowners insurance.

So, the question remains—do you need renters insurance for college apartments and houses? Below, we explain coverage and benefits of purchasing a policy.

How does on-campus and off-campus coverage differ?

The type of insurance you need depends on where you will be living while away at school.

If you’re planning to live on-campus, your belongings may be covered under your parents’ homeowners insurance policy. Coverage is dependent on your age and student status, so talk with your agent to be sure.

If you’re planning to live off-campus, the National Association of Insurance Commissioners suggests students consider renters insurance. In case of a loss event, renters insurance covers a policyholder’s belongings and liabilities. For example, if someone steals your computer or smartphone, or a fire destroys your clothing and furniture, renters insurance covers replacement costs. The policy may also underwrite additional living expenses if the property becomes temporarily uninhabitable.

If a guest sustains an injury while at your rental property, your renters insurance policy may also cover the cost of the guest’s medical bills or expenses related to a lawsuit.


Does renters insurance cover landlord negligence?

While the law does not require landlord insurance, most purchase coverage for their properties’ structural components and appliances. If a landlord violates health and housing codes due to negligent maintenance, some renters insurance policies may protect you against faulty plumbing or outdated wiring damages.


What renters insurance policy is right for me?

Before purchasing renters insurance, make an item-by-item list of all your possessions. Take videos and photos of your personal inventory, and research replacement values online to estimate the total value of your belongings. This number will help you determine the amount of insurance needed.

Your insurance provider will offer you the choice of two policies. These include:

  • A cost replacement policy, which covers replacement of stolen, damaged or destroyed items.
  • A real cash value policy, which replaces items at their depreciated value due to wear and tear, or age.

For more information on coverage types, claim filing, safety and cost-saving tips, fast facts and more, see our guide to Understanding Renters & Homeowners Insurance.


Additional resources:

To help you understand the importance of protecting what you own, read these member resources about renters insurance: